Worker receives compensation after barn fall accident

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Worker receives compensation after barn fall accident

13th April 2011

A man who was left with a serious leg injury following an accident at work has received £120,000 in compensation.

The victim, in his 40s, was part of team working on the dismantling of a barn before it could be relocated. He was only six weeks into his new job when the accident happened, leaving him with a permanent injury to his ankle.

Gary Herbert, a serious injury specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said that in order to dismantle the barn, an elaborate array of borrowed scaffolding, a ladder and fork-lift truck was all being used to allow the workmen access to various bolts. "The company directors attended the site and saw how the workers were being asked to carry out their job," said Gary. "Their only response was to say that the team should 'go steady'."

Gary explained how his client was at the top of a ladder working to unfasten secure bolts at the apex of the barn, when the whole side of the structure began to fall away. "This meant that the ladder had nothing to lean against, and it - and my client - began to fall," he said. "A colleague tried his best to hold the ladder upright, but was unable to keep it in place long enough for my client to climb down. As the ladder fell, my client had to jump clear, landing on the concrete floor several feet below.

"My client said he remembered thinking the landing wasn't bad, but that thought only lasted for a few seconds as he was suddenly in absolute agony."

The man could see a lump sticking out of his leg and realised he had hurt himself badly. After a few minutes, his colleagues were able to undo his boot laces and relieve some of the pressure he felt in his foot. "His colleagues took him to hospital in their van, a journey my client later described as the worst 45 minutes of his life," said Gary.

"He was taken to x-ray and one of the doctors explained that he would need to put him under general anaesthetic so that he could manipulate one of the bones urgently. He said it was sticking into the skin and could cause the skin to die if they did not act quickly.

"After undergoing surgery on the ankle, he remained in hospital and was discharged a week after the incident, relying on crutches and a wheelchair to help him get around and also rest his leg," said Gary. "The seriousness of this injury meant that even though my client was resilient and ultimately able to return to work, he had been forced to moderate his lifestyle outside of work and reduce his working hours and duties."

The surgery was successful and the client had a better than expected recovery to his ankle. However he did have ongoing problems and needed to restrict his activities to manage his symptoms. The victim also now faces a greater risk of arthritic problems in the future as a result of the fall.

"Despite my client being able to secure a new job at similar rates of pay he was restricted in some of his duties and needed the help of colleagues to perform heavier lifting and carrying tasks," he said. "His new employer was very understanding and provided equipment to allow him to carry out his duties and assistance in managing his working hours.

"In these circumstances, the law recognises this measure of disability and the fact that whilst people are able to return to work, they may not be able to work at all times in the future," explained Gary, "even if their current employer is understanding of their needs. We were therefore able to present the claim on the basis that my client was likely to face longer periods out of work in the future, and settlement for damages was successfully negotiated in the amount of £120,000."

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents in the workplace.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.